Ohio Manufacturing Workforce Partnership Awarded $12 Million To Scale Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships
(COLUMBUS, OHIO) - The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) has announced the recipients of its Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies Grant, which includes a $12 million award to Ohio's Lorain County Community College (LCCC), the lead applicant in collaboration with Ohio TechNet (OTN) and The Ohio Manufacturers' Association (OMA), collectively known as the Ohio Manufacturing Workforce Partnership (OMWP).
The funding will play a vital role in helping Ohio address the workforce shortage and skills gap affecting manufacturing, as manufacturers across the State have repeatedly cited workforce as their top issue of concern.
With the grant funds, OMWP will upskill 5,000 Ohioans over the next four years through Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAP), an innovative earn-and-learn model recently authorized by the USDOL.
"Ohio manufacturers understand that it's time to change the way we develop talent," OMA President Eric Burkland said. "Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs take the best of traditional, Registered Apprenticeship - structured on-the-job training, with related classroom instruction, and regularly increasing wages - and give manufacturers the flexibility to determine which skills and outcomes are most important to their long-term success. To ensure that these flexible apprenticeships provide high-quality training, each will be tied to a specific Industry Recognized Credential."
Burkland noted that the USDOL opportunity came at the perfect time for Ohio manufacturers.
"For the last two years, we have been building a system of Regional Industry Sector Partnerships to foster collaboration and resource sharing among manufacturers and their education and workforce partners. It was this systems-level work that prepared us to submit a compelling proposal to the Department of Labor," he said.
A key element of that system is Ohio TechNet, a consortium of Ohio's community colleges and other post-secondary education institutions, launched in 2014 with a focus on accelerating the readiness of Ohio's workforce for manufacturing careers.
"Leaders across Ohio's institutions of higher education, including community colleges, universities and Ohio Technical Centers understand that we need new ways to partner with industry to ensure that our communities are ready for both the jobs of today and those of tomorrow," Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner said. "Scaling Apprenticeships through this new investment will offer expanded opportunities for meeting talent needs of Ohio's manufacturers."
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